I Caught Fire



Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Final Fantasy VII or it's characters. All trademarks, names, and characters are copyright to Square-Enix. I simply borrow them for my own amusement. The song, "I Caught Fire," is copyrighted to The Used.

A/N: I wrote this the day after my kitty died. Her name was Ricky and I love her and miss her. This is dedicated to her, and I hope she forgives me for not being there when she needed me in her last few moments. I'm moving on and I can do it. I think she forgives me now. RIP - Ricky. /1991-Sept.1/2005. Miss you.

'In your eyes, I lost my place

Could stay a while, and I'm melting.

In your eyes, like my first time that I caught fire.

Just stay with me, lay with me now.

You can stay and watch me fall and of course I'll ask for help.

We could take our heads off, stay in bed, just make love, that's all.

We'll sleep til' the sun burns out…'

"I Caught Fire" - The Used

I always figured that if anything ever happened to make me hate them that I'd leave. I'd run away and totally forget about their materia and their friendships. Why would I want materia from people who I once loved anyway? Who I once befriended foolishly. I knew it was all too good to last.

But wasn't this going a bit too far? Aeris just died, and now everybody's acting as if it's my fault. It's not like I could have done anything to stop Sephiroth. Hell, Cloud was closer to her due to the whole 'I attempted to murder her first' deal, but nobody blames him now, do they? No, of course not. Because that would be too easy.

But hello Avalanche! Wake up and smell the sake! Nothing is easy in this world. I learned that at a young age when I watched my mother get shot by ShinRa soldiers attacking Wutai. I learned that nothing could ever be perfect, pure, and holy. Except maybe for Aeris, but she's gone now. Because that's the way life is.

I don't want to go. I love them all so much. They're like the family I never had. Tifa and Aeris were the older sisters you could come to for advice on certain subjects; Cloud was the brother who got everything that his siblings wanted; Barret and Cid were the annoying uncles who you could always depend on for a good laugh; Nanaki, aka Red XIII, was the wise grandfather who knew everything; and Cait Sith was the twin brother who was your best friend. Vincent… well…

Mr. Vincent I'll-never-love-another-woman-except-for-my-beloved-Lucrecia-for-as-long-as-I-shall-live-and-be-all-morbid-and-depressing-all-the-time' Valentine was the neighbor's son who locked himself in his room writing disturbing poetry with his blinds shut. You never saw him pop out of his cage, and when you did, it was only for a few seconds while he shooed away your cat that never shut up. Then he'd retreat back to his lair and glare at your house through his blinds, mentally damning you into oblivion.

Okay, that wasn't necessarily family, but you get the drift.

So, in spite of all your neighbor's son's faults, you had a teeny crush on him. I mean, come on! All that dark poetry was amazing, even though you've never read it; his dark and mysterious attitude and appearance was just plain hot. So you reveled in the times when he would pop out of his cage and shout at your cat. In fact, most of the time, you sent Fluffy over there on purpose just to lure him out.

But that was just a metaphor, and the real Vincent Valentine would never give me a second glance if he knew what was good for him. It would never last anyway. Cuz' you know that whole ying-yang theory - opposites attract, blah blah, well… they never said that that theory only worked 2 of the time. Because Vinny and me, not happenin'.

So here we are, walking down this lonely road, not speaking to each other. So of course, somebody's gotta talk, and if that's gotta be me, then so be it! I'm gonna lighten the mood! Well, turns out the rest of the family are hibernating with the neighbor's son, because all I get is glares. I know I shouldn't read into it too much. How could they blame me for it? I never did anything! But then again, maybe that was the problem… I never did anything to help Aeris, and now she was gone. Everyone else had run forward to try and stop Sephiroth, although their attempts were futile, and I just stood there in shock. I had crumpled down to my knees and watched the sword slide silently through her back, and I cried as I saw it poke through her front, the pink dress she always wore clashing painfully with the red specks of her blood.

I didn't try and stop it, that's why they blame me, I'm sure of it. They think I don't care that she's gone, talking cheerfully and cracking jokes. But I learned- didn't I?- that the one you lose would never want you to be so down and depressed, especially Aeris. Aeris would be saying the same things I'm saying now, she'd be trying to cheer everybody up right now, and they know it! That's why the only conversation I'm making is with their glares. They're scared and they're weak.

Well, I've learned a lot of things in my life, and one of them is what I taught myself after mom died. You have to move on and find peace. You have to believe that you can get over it and continue living. Because that's what they would have wanted. What she would have wanted.

You have to come to peace with yourself, and I sure as hell wasn't gonna wait any longer for this band of depressing-nuts to find peace.

In an instant, when I was lagging behind the group a little- it's not like any of them noticed or cared- I analyzed their positions. Cloud was leading the way, with Tifa trailing behind him. Cid and Barret were walking behind her, with Red and Cait Sith behind them. Where the hell was depressive-man? Ah, who cares. Gotta get away before they see.

Quickly, I scaled up the mountain side beside the path we were on and lay down on the top of it, peering over the edge at the Depresso-Crew. They were completely oblivious, thanks to my silent ninja skills. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk… Okay, gotta stop laughing like that. Anyway, where am I heading now?

I sat in silence for a moment as my family made their way around a curve in the path and disappeared behind some trees, out of my sight, out of my life. Forever. My shoulders slumped and I sat up, placing my hands over my bent knees as I closed my eyes and thought.

I had first joined Avalanche with every intention of stealing their materia and ditching them later, without a care in the world, but then they got to me. I don't know how to explain it, but they have this infection that they feed into everybody they meet and then suddenly everybody likes them- or in some people's case, only one or two of them. So clearly I started to enjoy their presence more and more in my life. Aeris and Cait Sith in particular were my best friends.

Aeris was just… always so happy and cheerful. I think maybe I passed a little of myself into her, but originally she was warm and kind in the first place. I loved that about her. She could always make you feel welcomed in the most embarrassing situations, she'd comfort you when you cried, and she'd laugh with you, not at you.

Cait Sith was the same. Okay, maybe a little less warm and kind, but still very much enjoyable anyway. Okay, so he was controlled by a ShinRa spy; that didn't mean he couldn't change. Vincent did, I did, Cloud did, and so could he. I still don't exactly know who the spy is, but I'm sure he's really nice. He's like my twin brother who always helps me plot out evil schemes. Heh heh.

So why didn't I stick to my original plan? Do not befriend the enemy, steal their materia, and walaa! Vamoose! Well, they were too good of people. All of them had good intentions, and I respected that too much to disrespect them, y'know?

So I figure this way is smart. When they realize I'm gone- if they realize I'm gone- then they won't hate me as much for it. I didn't take their materia, and I wouldn't annoy them with my presence any longer.

"It's a good idea." I mumbled, wincing as I felt a jolt in my stomach. I hadn't eaten in a few hours. Gah. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all, what with Tifa's cooking gone now.

"May I ask what was a good idea?" A curious but monotone voice asked from behind me. I yelped and stood up, holding my shuriken in front of me at the intruder.

My eyes widened as I took in the tall, dark, and mysterious form of none other than Mr. Vinny Valempire. He stood in front of me, ignoring the dangerous shuriken aimed at his chest, and stared into my eyes, waiting for his question to be answered.

"Uh, Vinny! I mean, Vincent!" I lowered my weapon, glancing for ways to a possible exit, but found none, "What're you doin' here?"

"I could ask the same of you." He replied, never moving.

"Well, Vince, ya see, I was just running away from all of you guys because you're all too depressing and I secretly can't stand being on the receiving end of all your glares mainly because I love you all too much. I also secretly am in love with you, Vincent, and I would do anything to see you come out of your hideout and give me a smile while you cuddle my cat, Fluffy, and warm me while reciting your poetry to me in a deep, caressing voice."

Ha, if only I could have the courage to say something like that. Instead, the garbage that spews out of that whole in my face says, "Ugh… ya, you could."

Oh, way to go Yuffie Kisaragi.

Vincent stared at me with an, 'I was asking a question, moron,' type look in his eyes, "Why are you running away?"

Oh shit.

"Uh, I'm not! I'm just… peeing! Ya! Vinny you hentai, what? You need to follow me while I do that? Never knew you were that much of a pervert." I made up on the spot. That's right, Fluffy, you head on over to Mr. Valentine's doorstep and hiss at him.

Vincent growled- Holy. Shit. Did he just growl? That's kind of… attractive…- and my eyes glued themselves to the ground. Oh! Look! Chocobo feces. Damn, hope I didn't sit in it.

"Okay… so I wasn't peeing and you're not a hentai," No, fool! What are you doing! That was a perfectly legit excuse! "I was… admiring the sights."

"With your eyes closed?" Vincent questioned. I heard a rustle coming from his direction, but I still stared down at the offending bird crap by my shoe.

"No… I was thinking when you interrupted me, butthole." Wow, creative! Let's see how Vince reacts to that one.

With the amusing image of Vincent's jaw dropping to the floor like a couple of anvils in my mind, I looked up at him and was slightly shocked to see that he was only an arms distance away from me now. When the hell did that happen? Whoa, Vinny, you're kind of in my personal space. Respect the bubble, or feel its wrath. No, don't move closer, you worm, I have prided myself on keeping this bubble blown my entire life. Don't you move another step or I'll-

Way to go, Vincent Valentine. You popped the bubble.

"Thinking of what?" He asked, eyeing me. Not that the eyeing isn't turning me on, but I'm just slightly surprised you decided to ignore my insinuation that you were a small, smelly hole on somebody's rear end. Oo-okay, Vince, back off now. You lay one finger on me and I'm liable to attack your lips. Just warning you.

"N-nothing." Damnit! Now you've got my stuttering. I am the great Ninja Kisaragi! I do not stutter nor faulter nor back down. You do not realize the two barriers you've already reduced that made me what I was, Vincent, because if you did realize you most surely would not continue what you are currently attempting to do. I refuse to let you break me.

"Then you were not thinking, which brings us back to the question of what you are doing up here with your eyes closed, talking to yourself." He said, clasping one hand around my own.

Whoa, Vinny, I have no clue what you just said because my eyes are now entirely focused on your own red orbs. Do you know what you're doing right now, Vince? Do you know what emotions you're bringing up in me. I can handle the lust, I'm strong, but I cannot handle the fear and loneliness that is now being boiled in my heart. Oh crap, now you're making me cry.

"There's something in my eye." I mutter, swatting his hand away as I turned my head to the side, staring off into the distance. When I felt his clawed hand rest on my shoulder I knew my defenses were weakening, and it was about time to retreat into my own cage. Come on, Fluffy, come on home. You've done your job, there's no need to bother Vincent Valentine any longer.

Vincent used his hand, the clawed one, currently not rubbing my shoulder- oh Leviathan!- to turn my face back towards his. "You do not need to run away, Yuffie." He mumbled, reassurance nestled in his eyes. "Just cry."

No! The Great Ninja Kisaragi will not let her defenses fall. There's still one last dozen men who will fight you off and defend my base, Vamp, so watch out. I shake my head, not willing to let the tears fall, and before I know what is happening, Vincent pulls me into his arms and cradles me into his chest, successfully killing off the last dozen forces with ease.

I cry. No- that's not nearly powerful enough a word to express what I'm feeling right now- I sob. I sob into his chest, not caring that his cloak is getting soaked in my torrential downpour. His human hand finds its way to my lower back where he rubs it in a slow circle, soothing my downpour to a light drizzle.

The storm is coming to an end and I know that any minute now that rubbing is going to turn it into a warm summer morning if it doesn't stop. Vincent, seriously, you got your spring evening, so don't push it. Oh, okay, so if you push just… there- Leviathan!- then maybe you'll get a summer afternoon, but definitely no morning.

"Yuffie…" He mumbles, using his human hand to lift my chin up so our eyes meet- wow, intense…- and I finally see him smile. Here he comes with Fluffy cradled in his arms, some of his poetry in his hands.

His smile is just so… amazing. It's like nothing I've ever seen before. I thought he looked great with his dark look plastered all over his face, but the way he smiles lights his whole face up like a summer evening with fireworks. "Vincent…" I reply. Oh god, now we're on a first name- no nick-name- basis? I don't know if I can take this. Just don't leave me now, Vince, whatever you do. I think you'd take a piece of my heart with you.

His eyes close and automatically my own snap shut as our lips connect.

That's right, mama… I finally found the hand I want to hold while we watch the red and orange fireworks on that summer night.

I think I can move on now. I'll be okay, because I've got Vincent with me. I love you, and I'll never forget the sacrifice you made for me, mama.

I'm strong now.